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The Quintessential Beko

Dr. Bekololari Ransome Kuti, the quintessential revolutionary, dogged fighter and crusader for democracy, social justice and human rights passed on a decade ago, precisely on 10 February 2006. For us at the Beko Rights Klub (BRK), that incident was only a passage to the other World as his spirit is still living in us and with us; his spirit continues to guide us in almost everything we do even beyond revolutionary activism.
Beko, ‘The Bravest of the Brave’, like Wole Soyinka would describe him, was an exemplar in the cause of fighting against oppression and repression in whatever form it occurred. His struggles were consistently for the amelioration and emancipation of the poor, working and toiling people; the fetchers of the woods, the drawers of the water, the tillers of the land.
Even when some vacillated in the common cause and course of the struggle for an egalitarian society; he never wavered nor compromised even at the risk of losing his life, detention or torture. Perhaps this was responsible for the various leadership roles he played in the organisations he was part of, from the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, (first as Lagos Chairman and later as National Secretary General), the Campaign for Democracy, CD, (President), Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, National Democratic Coalition, Centre for Constitutional Governance, CCG, NADECO and PRONACO to the Labour Civil Society Coalition, LASCO, which he co-Chaired till his passage.
His voyage on such terrains witnessed confrontations with both military and civilian regimes that deployed all means possible to make the lives of the poor working and toiling people miserable. Beko, working with other compatriots contributed monumentally to the ousting of the military from government; the struggle against civilian dictatorship, the resistance against IMF/World Bank imposed policies such as the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), deregulation and corruption. As a matter of fact it was during the heat of the battle against deregulation that the renowned Medical Doctor passed on barely 4 months after the activist community incurred a similar colossal loss in the passage of Comrade Chima Ubani.
The State of Nigeria: 10 Years after Beko
Evidently, the struggles of Beko and his co-travellers were not in vain, as Nigeria today is under a democratic order with a democratization process in progression.
Unfortunately, Nigeria, politically and economically remain within the tenacious grip of a ruling class that have maintained and displayed the same ineptitude, maladministration, corruption, impunity and insensitiveness for decades resulting in the painful situation of existence of majority of Nigerians; a situation where the 1% rollick in affluence and control the commonwealth of the country while the 99% wallow in abject poverty and despair, in addition to unemployment, a health sector in doldrums, a neglected education sector topped with insecurity of lives and property.
The hardships that Nigerians are going through continues to be compounded by the neo-liberal dictates of the IMF/World Bank and that has made access to basic needs required for humane living  impossible for the vast majority.
The present APC led Federal government is not a radical departure from hitherto existing governments that favoured only the elite and the extremely wealthy ruling class. The government has hiked the prices of petroleum products in face of global fall in Crude oil prices; increased tariffs for electricity, imposed N50 tax on Bank transactions from 1000 naira and above, introduced tolls on our roads. Yet the government has refused to fund education adequately; shunned Health and infrastructural development, failed to guarantee security of lives and property.
We must note that this government has budgeted humongous sums for Aso rock renovation, websites and a lot of frivolities while relegating the well-being and social welfare (the very reason why government is instituted in the first place) of the ordinary people to the background. Yet, this is a government that rode on the mantra of ÇHANGE to get elected. We ask, whither the change?
Like in the petroleum sector, the Power sector under the Ministry of Power, Housing and Infrastructure superintended upon by Mr. Babatunde Fashola, former Governor Lagos State, has imposed a tariff hike on Nigerians for services not rendered to them. This is flagrant and audacious corruption in situation where the government is pontificating that it is against corruption and illegality.
Mr. Babatunde Fashola, should be told that the Ministry he superintends over is not meant for the kind of antics that he got away with in Lagos state. This is Nigeria, this is National and it is hugely above the microcosm that he evolved from.
We make bold to say with every sense of responsibility, that it’s the PHCN, the DISCOs, NERC that owe Nigerians money and apologies for not rendering services that they received money for and continue to receive money for, albeit, forcefully. Therefore we reject this hike in electricity tariffs in totality, we demand that, power supply should be made available and accessible to all and a billing system that will be transparent, reasonable and commensurate to consumption. The DISCOs and NERC can take a cue from Telecommunication sector by providing meters; fixing the cobweb-like cables that dangle over the heads of the people, mount poles etc. first, any other approach is like putting the ‘cart before the horse’ and therefore illegitimate and irrational!
Every Disco should be enforced to meter all its customers. The demand by the distribution companies for cost reflective tariff so as to remain in business should be placed side by side with effective service delivery, after which the issue of tariff increase can now come. Until we fix our power sector, all the talk about the industrial revolution plans and creating jobs/wealth for Nigerians, will just be mere talks and a waste of time. The power issue is overly dragging and by now ought to have been a thing of the past. All hands must be on deck to make sure Nigerians have stable power/electricity supply.
We therefore enjoin the activist community, the masses, the Labour Movement and all that abhors exploitation and oppression to rise and resist the demonic and unjustifiable hike in electricity tariffs. We must move against the ‘change’ we did not vote for, to protect our being, and the struggle for a humane society.
Way Forward
For us in the BRK, we are rededicating ourselves to the cause championed by our Hero, the cause of rejecting and resisting oppression, domination and subjugation whether political, economic or socio-cultural, for that is the only way to keep his ideals alive, more so, because ‘it is not yet UHURU’ in Nigeria.

We call on and encourage all compatriots not to rest on their oars, as the struggle to liberate our country and people is a protracted one involving processes and stages. The struggle is not an event, we bold to say! We must mobilize, organize and educate the masses to rise up against bad governance for our destiny lies in our hands.
We support the on-going anti-corruption war as we recognize corruption as a bane that has permeated almost every aspect of polity as a country, a cankerworm that is deeply embedded and must be excised. The drive must continue and this is regardless of the class, social, ethnic, political or religious status of individuals or groups involved. Impunity must end!
In the words of another late Hero and champion of the masses’ struggle, Barrister Bamidele Aturu, ‘Nigerians must rise and fight against corruption, if we don’t want it to finish and bury us as a Nation. We must do everything possible to dislodge corruption; otherwise, this Nation will sink like a house built on bad terrain.’
National Pardon for Brigadier-General Enitan Ransome Kuti
The Beko Rights Klub is utilising this occasion of the commemoration of Beko’s passage to call on the Nigerian government to grant Brigadier-General Enitan Ransome Kuti, son of our late Hero, National Pardon with regard to the case of ‘mutiny’ against him following the decision of the Military to Court martial him after the Baga massacre carried out by Boko Haram Insurgents in January 2015. Brigadier General Enitan remains in imprisonment till date, even though history has absolved him.
We are strongly convinced that the revelations reeled out from the Arms procurement scandal and the DasukiGate confirm his innocence and patriotism. In fact, we believe, with those expositions, the actions of Brigadier-General Enitan and others are justiciable, reasonable and dialectical.
We remain committed and resolute in the struggle for our collective emancipation. Aluta continua, Victoria Acerta!!
Comrade Debo Adeniran,
Convener, Beko Rights Klub

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